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Did Romney Cheat During Debate By Smuggling in Notes?

You may be aware of a video making the rounds, in which you will see Mitt Romney clearly slipping a piece of paper out of his pocket, and putting it on the podium. Accompanying this video are statements that it must surely be against the rules to bring notes.

Is it against the rules to bring notes? What about paper? WhoWhatWhy checked it out. The website for the Commission on Presidential Debates does not list rules, and so far the Commission has not replied to an inquiry from us requesting those rules.  Unless and until the Commission comes forward and tells us what instructions the debate participants are given of what they may and may not do, we cannot be sure whether Romney would be in violation of any terms.

However, we may take some guidance from the 2004 agreement between the Commission and the Bush and Kerry campaigns, which was leaked and published on the web, may give us the answer.

5. Rules Applicable to All Debates.

(c): No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by any candidate.…

(d): Notwithstanding subparagraph 5 (c), the candidates may take notes during the debate on the size, color and type of paper each prefers at using the type of pen or pencil that each prefers. Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and any pens or pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff of the commission will place such paper, pens, and pencils on the podium, table, or other structure to be used by the candidate in that debate.

Unless the Commission has revised its rules since 2004 toward greater leniency, then Romney did violate the terms of the debate.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/shelll1 Shell Lavender

    His body language as he approached the podium even suggested he was being stealth in slipping the paper onto the lecturn.

  • Beatitude Sputnik

    No I believe that I’ve seen enough to say that this was just a handkerchief. That being said, I believe it is possible, in fact probable, that the reason he was in such a hurry to retrieve his notes is due to the fact that he was using a pinhole camera in his lapel pin to relay questions he was writing down to his campaign staff so that they could supply him answers through an earpiece. If anyone else has another explanation for the strange feature on his lapel pin, I’d love to hear it.

  • Beatitude Sputnik

    Ignore my previous post I’ve confirmed I was incorrect.

  • Bryce

    I bought into the notes conspiracy pretty quickly. But then once I saw the “other” video where Romney actually uses his handkerchief, I realize that it’s just his handkerchief he’s pulling out. To further speculate is to be silly. How do we know Obama didn’t sneak in notes, but the camera didn’t catch him! He was being surreptitious because he wants to counter the Nixon brow-sweat problem without drawing too much attention. Can we move on now?

  • Steve Baker

    Why is no one wondering if Obama threw the debate on purpose?
    http://thinkingaboot.blogspot.ca/2012/10/obamas-debate-performance-explained.html

    • Bryce

      I think that’s perfectly plausible.
      See: rope-a-dope

      • http://danallen.com Dan Allen

        If Obama threw it on purpose, it was a huge mistake. Obama had a commanding and growing lead entering the first debate. Romney got a large bump, which bounced only partly, creating a “too close to call” scenario for the election as a whole. While there is no way now to prove it, I still think that if Obama had done as well in the first debate as he did in the 2nd two, Romney would not have got anything like the bump that now has reshaped the race.

  • GP2

    he did cheat….look at the end of the debate when the families come on stage. Romney went back to get his notes and could not put it in his pocket to one of him family members took it from him and put it in his pocket…#thecoverup

    • Bryce

      It’s perfectly reasonable to go back and grab your notes. Otherwise they’ll end up on the internet. That is not proof of cheating whatsoever.

  • http://danallen.com Dan Allen

    Has a blank sheet of paper been ruled out as the item of suspicion? A blank sheet for making notes during the debate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisamosc Lisa Moscatiello

    Romney is the kind of guy who, if they didn’t expressly forbid notes for this particular debate, would just say, hey, it’s not 2004 anymore, nobody says I can’t, so I will. It’s like when he said “Of COURSE I don’t believe employers should prevent women from having access to birth control.” Because, hey, women are free to get birth control, just like they’re free to get face lifts. He doesn’t say — because you didn’t ask–that he also thinks that OF COURSE employers should not have to cover birth control. He is very well versed on the letter of the law and knows exactly what he can get away with and gets OUTRAGED when he can’t get away with it.

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